Suffolk Market Events which organise Lavenham and Bury St Edmunds farmers' Markets wins regional finals for 'Rural Oscars'
The organisation behind successful farmers’ markets in Lavenham and Bury St Edmunds has won Best Rural Enterprise award in the East of England.
Suffolk Market Events will now go forward as a finalist in the awards which are known as the ‘Rural Oscars’.
Run by the Countryside Alliance more than 17,000 nominations were received for this year’s awards which feature five categories - local food and drink, village shop/post office, butcher, pub and rural enterprise.
Suffolk Market Events began life in 2008 when Justine Paul stepped in to save Lavenham Farmers’ Market which faced closure.
Now the business run by Justine and Alex Paul operates six farmers’ markets in Suffolk and Essex working with 160 local producers. Traders travel no further than 30 - 50 miles to be at the market and everything that is sold is produced by the person who is selling.
Community involvement is key to the success of the organisation and the markets it runs while theses in turn boost the local economy bringing visitors to the towns and villages the markets operate in.
Justine said: “I am inspired every day by this county’s rich offerings of produce, an array of which hangs, literally from our hedgerows and grows wild in our woodlands.
“I have a passion for local food, for supporting local producers and for supporting my community and I am proud that through our work we have successfully reconnected local people with locally produced food which is right on their doorstep and is available at affordable prices.
Suffolk Market Events runs monthly markets in Bury St Edmunds, Lavenham, Sudbury, Long Melford, Ipswich and Colchester.
Today it employs three people on a part time basis and welcomes a student each year on work experience. It is also hoping to get involved in the apprenticeship programme this year.
Bury Farmers’ Market was a finalist in the best newcomer Suffolk Food and Drink awards in 2018 and Lavenham Farmers’ Market won best Farmers’ Market in the awards in 2012 and was a runner up in the Countryside Alliance enterprise awards in the same year.
Suffolk Market Events won business growth star award at the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Community Awards in 2018.
The national finals will be held next month.